We May Have Inadvertently Acquired A Weasel Named Murray Who May Or May Not Be Living Under Our Floor

A couple of days ago, I was writing from my bed surrounded by all three cats. I had my phone to the right of me, coffee to the left of me, and a cat's rump warming my toes. It was at that moment that I was overcome with the exceedingly rare and sweet feeling that all was right with the world.

Experience has taught me that this feeling is not, in fact, a good thing; this feeling is, in actuality, a harbinger of Bad Things. I would do well to remember this.

A loud sound of scratching on wood suddenly came from the far end of the hallway, and all three cats bolted off the bed, yanking the power cord out of my laptop. I knocked my coffee off the night table.

My first thought was that it was one of the cats doing the gnawing, so I immediately yelled at the worst of them, which is two out of the three, but then I realized that the scratching had occurred while all the cats were with me on the bed. This meant that something else was gnawing away in the apartment, and the way all three cats were huddled in front of the step up into the bathroom was freaking me out.

The gnawing was coming from inside the raised bathroom floor. Crap. I didn't even like it when it was one of our own animals that decided to live under the floor.

I had to get ready for work, which meant being in the bathroom, which meant standing directly above said gnawing thing, and I was not keen on it, because that gnawing? It was LOUD. Whatever it was was attempting to eat its way through the floor and into my apartment, and by the sounds of it, this was no wee little mousie. This thing had TEETH.

I sucked it up, though, and went into the bathroom. This damn gnawing thing was not going to rob me of my job, after all, and I reasoned that whatever it was would be less likely to join me in the shower than anywhere else. I turned on the bathtub tap to run the hot water up through the pipes, and that is when it was confirmed that this was no wee mousie.

The sound of the water hitting the bottom of the tub must have startled it, because I heard it jump, and then I felt its body pound up against the floor beneath my feet. I jumped into the bathtub and figured that, according to my calculations, which accounted for the Palinode's longevity and the lifespan of the average weasel, I could live in that bathtub for the duration of the gnawing thing's life and those of its offspring if the Palinode was willing to prepare my meals.

There was still the problem of getting to the job that pays my rent, though, so I took the practical route and was Speedy Speedster McSpeederson of the Speedsville McSpeedersons, throwing on pants and hair goo in record-breaking time before I threw myself out the door still struggling into my coat and doing up the buckles on my shoes. I don't know if weasels eat feet, but I was pretty sure that I didn't want to find out.

Of course, the landlord was called. The short answer? They suck. The long answer? They won't rip up our bathroom floor, but they will put poison in the basement. The basement? It is TWO FLOORS DOWN FROM OUR APARTMENT. My faith in their anti-weasel tactic is dim.

When I arrived home after work that day, all weasel1 activity seemed to have ceased. The Palinode had heard no gnawing or leaping, and weasel sitings had been at an absolute minimum. Thankfully, we seem to have been weasel free since then. But still. There was the weasel. On the second floor of our apartment building. Inside our apartment.

If it decides to stay or come back, then I guess we have a weasel. I've imagined how I would bag such a thing with a combination of quilts and our cat carrier, but it never ends well, even in my head. I've already named him Murray. Hooray for us. If it decides to go down to the basement and eat the poison, then I suppose I can look forward to possibly running into a dead weasel when I go down to do my laundry. Hooray for me.

Or we can move to a less weaselly setting. I've always liked the idea of a house on stilts. You?


1 The gnawing thing may or may not be a weasel. It could be a gigantic rat, but I am not keen on gigantic rats. I am not keen on interior weasels, either, but it helps me enter this event into my inventory of the fantastic in my brain, which means that none of this is really happening, because none of this is really happening, and weasels are funny.

The Drop-Off

Grace in Small Things: Sunday Edition #2